Yesterday on my home course, my husband and I got paired up with two fellas, Josh and Randy. Our little neighborhood course was as crowded as I’ve ever seen it, filled with people taking advantage of one of the last clear, warm days of the season.
Josh was a young, dark-haired big-bruiser type, well over six-feet tall and very thick, maybe a tad too rotund to be an SEC linebacker but hopefully you can picture the size of this guy. He had a lot of power but when his shots went awry, hold onto your hats and I hope he always carries his checkbook. Randy was closer to my age, wore a button-up baseball jersey and cap, had a super informal way about him and every time he hit the ball any distance, he ended up completely off balance. His dancing around at the end of his swing reminded me of the balance problems I was starting to notice in my own. Only, when I do a dance like that at the end of my swing, the ball goes nowhere. I was surprised he had as many good shots as he did.
Both were very nice and good guys to play with. We all hit it well off the first tee.
Randy was stopped in the first fairway, looking at his clubs as I walked by him.
He said, “I need to get married again. My clubs are dirty.” Chuckle. Chuckle. His laugh had the same looseness his demeanor had.
He looked up at me and assured me, “Just kidding!”
I was focused on getting to my shot and though I might have been mildly offended, I just blew it off. Of all the things a man might want a woman to clean for him, golf clubs do not come to mind.
The round started well for me. Like has happened so many times before when I play a few holes with confidence and hit several on-target, aesthetically pleasing shots in a row, people, and in this case I’m specifically referring to men, who don’t know me start making comments about my game, that I must be some kind of hot-shot A-player and so on. It comes across a bit condescending at times, because they don’t expect it from the average girl out there, but I also think it’s because I have such a good iron game. It makes me appear like a better player than I am. A lot of women can hit a good tee shot and then send a ball farther down the pike with a hybrid or fairway wood, but I have yet to see a woman I’ve played with use an iron in the fairway, unless we are within 50 yards. My iron repertoire is solid and when one is in my hand, I tend to not miss as many shots. I have no explanation for why this is so. I am super comfortable with 4 through sand wedge and the swing seems to come naturally. If I owned a 3-iron I’d probably use it too. I wish the rest of my game would fall into place like this!
Anyway, these fellas were starting to ask me about the course, treating me with deference like some kind of golf goddess – up through the third hole that is. Then I triple bogeyed the fourth. It was the old skull it over the green, skull it back over the green, leave yourself with a 25-footer kind of hole.
Did I just say I play my irons well?
So yes, my game broke down midway through the round and by the time I got to the sixth and seventh holes, I earned myself two snowmen in a row. 8 and then another 8.
On six, I didn’t make solid contact even one time. It was a series of thins and fats and I was fortunate to ever make it onto the green and hole it after four poorly executed putts.
On seven, my beloved seven, I drove with my 21-degree loft hybrid and hit it out there, way past the path! All was well but then I deeply chilly dipped and left myself with a third shot back just far enough from the lake to mess with my mind.
Kind Josh who towered over me said, “You got this. You can hit it over easy.”
“I know I can physically do it, but I really struggle with the mental game,” I said. He knodded. This is something every golfer understands.
I will give you three guesses on what happened next. But you probably only need one.
Yes the ball dropped into the water and I give the splash a 9.9! I dropped a ball and hit a good 8-iron just a foot short of the green. I could putt from there. Phew. I made seven on the hole, a typical score for me but that was before the penalty stroke.
Needless to say, Josh and Randy weren’t asking me any questions about the course anymore.
There was still a bit more good news to report, though. I love the ninth hole and usually always either par or bogey it. I was on in three, a little disappointed with my pitch because though it was well hit and gorgeous to watch fly, it didn’t sit and left me with a 30-footer.
I was away and lined up my putt with extra care, as I always do on my favorite hole. It was slightly downhill with little if any break. Randy kept telling me he didn’t think there was any break and I kept saying I thought there was an inch or two.
The putt dropped in for a reassuring par. I was careful but also somewhat lucky as I wasn’t really clear on how much break to play. As I’ve said in a recent post, my putting is something that actually has become more consistent. And that’s awesome.
Golf should be learned starting at the cup and progressing back toward the tee.
Score for nine holes: 51
Solid Contact: 16
Putts: 19 (1-putts/2, 2-putts/5, 3-putts/1, 4-putts/1 )
Shots left: 15
52% solid contact.
The takeaway: I need lessons, as much for help with my mental game as anything.
Thought for the day: Every shot matters and deserves equal respect and focus.